MEDFORD - Sophomore Lauren Dillon drained four three-pointers and led Tufts with 12 points, five assists and three steals as the Jumbos topped Middlebury 57-37 in NESCAC women's basketball action on Friday night at Cousens Gym.
With the game tied at 10-10 after one quarter, the hosts out-scored the Panthers 14-4 in the second quarter and led the rest of the way. Tufts, ranked 12th in the D3hoops poll, has now won seven in a row and stands at 12-2 overall and 3-0 in the league.
Freshman Colleen Caveney tied Dillon with a game-high 12 points and added six rebounds for the Panthers. Middlebury dropped to 8-5 overall and 1-2 in the league.
Lay-ups by Caveney and classmate Catherine Harrison along with a pair of free throws by sophomore Sarah Kaufman helped Middlebury tie up Tufts 10-10 after one quarter of play.
Tufts used a 10-0 run during the second quarter to take a 22-12 lead on a pair of free throws by freshman Jacqueline Knapp with 2:20 to go until halftime. Senior Maura Folliard netted the first two baskets of the run for Tufts.
The Jumbos led 24-14 at the half. Folliard topped Tufts with six points. Caveney had six points and four rebounds at intermission for the Panthers, who shot just 17.2 percent (5/29) in the first 20 minutes.
Tufts opened up a 14-point lead (30-16) early in the third quarter on senior tri-captain Emma Roberson's three-pointer. The Jumbos still led by 13 (34-21) on Roberson's jumper at 3:53, but Middlebury fought back. They scored the next six points, four by freshman Alex Huffman, and were within seven (34-27) in the final minute of the period. Sophomore Melissa Baptista hit a late jumper for the Jumbos which put them up 36-27 heading into the fourth.
Tufts would out-score Middlebury 21-10 in the fourth quarter to pull away, including seven points off Panther turnovers. Junior Michela North had seven fourth-quarter points for Tufts and Dillon hit two of her three-pointers to lead the charge.
North finished with her fifth straight double-double, recording 11 points and 15 rebounds to go with three assists and two points. Baptista had 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists for the Jumbos. Folliard chipped in eight points and five boards, while Roberson added eight points, four rebounds and three steals.
Sophomore Eileen Daley had eight points, 11 rebounds and two steals for the Panthers, who finished at 21.6 percent shooting (11/51). Middlebury did earn a +9 rebounding advantage (49-40) with Harrison totaling 14 (seven offensive) to go with five points. Huffman finished with eight points and five rebounds.
It was the second time this season Tufts has held an opponent under 40 points. They entered the game ranked fifth nationally in scoring defense allowing 45.7 points per game.
Tufts hosts Hamilton tomorrow at 3 pm as the NESCAC weekend continues. Middlebury is at Bates for a 3 pm start.